IT’S been some time between drinks since we first rode the Harley-Davidson Low Rider S at the launch in Sydney, a couple of years ago. Times and the world may have changed, but at least the 2021 version has not, and for us, that is a very, very good thing.
Attitude is key with the Low Rider S and all of that remains with the 2021 model. It’s not just the bike itself either, but rather the way in which you view it, and ride said motorcycle.
Forget all the technical features and specifications, the Low Rider S is a pure fists in the wind enjoyment machine. Uncompromising styling and sinister blacked out components matched to Dark Bronze alloy wheels all feature.
But it’s that big thumping 114 donk that lies at the soul of this particular Harley-Davidson. The addition of a Screamin’ Eagle exhaust system and breather kit to amplifies the performance. Nothing could be better for tackling curves and freeway miles.
The improved breathing from the 114 Milwaukee Eight motor was noticeable and the Low Rider S revved better, had smoother acceleration, and was definitely quicker. There was a little more character defining grumble, but to be honest we wanted more.
We wanted the bark to be super aggressive and super noisy. We wanted to scare pedestrians as we rode past them, for car alarms to go off, and to be noticed for our substance and not just our looks.
To be fair, the Low Rider S does have substance, and not just a little, but a whole lot, for the rider. In standard guise, and with the added improvements to our test bike, it looked at home in the city hustle.
Get it into some nice back roads and this is where this Harley-Davidson truly defines its own unique personality. The 2021 Low Rider S has to be one of the best corner eaters in the entire 2021 model line-up.
Plant your bum in the seat, grab a hold of the handlebars, put your feet on the mid mount control pegs, and flick the go button. That’s it. There’s only the road before you to focus on.
Pushing in and out of the twisty corners, the seating position allows you to move your body easily, aggressively if you want to, and inspires you to go harder and harder as each corner appears in front of you.
All the controls are within easy reach and the seating position is nice and upright for maximum control. Some riders will prefer the optional forward controls, but for us the mid mounts really grew on us, and we’d stick with them if we owned one.
Lean angles of 30 degrees to the left and the right are only numbers on a spec sheet and when you’re riding through the corners a little extra can be achieved by pushing the foot pegs into the bitumen.
The Low Rider S feels a lot more nimble and agile than those lean angle numbers, and there’s a real emphasis on power, braking, handling, responsive suspension, and enhanced rider control.
Sporting a dry weight of 295kg, it’s not heavy in terms of the Softail range. Ground clearance of 120mm and a 690mm seat height add to the agility of the Low Rider S too.
The Softail’s 28-degree raked frame platform on which the Low Rider S is built, combined with an inverted front fork design which stiffens the front end for improved steering response, results in more exceptional handling.
Braking is delivered by dual front discs that provide a strong performance, coupled with ABS. We found the front brakes especially good when riding a little more enthusiastically in the twisty stuff.
At the heart of the Low Rider S is the Milwaukee Eight 114 cubic inch motor we mentioned earlier, matched to a six-speed transmission. This combination boasts 155Nm of torque and has a sweet spot between 3,000rpm and 3,750rpm.
The Screamin’ Eagle upgrades too, have certainly played a part in its performance. The 2021 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S can be had in Vivid Black or Midnight Crimson (as tested). Pricing starts at $27,995 ride away for Vivid Black.
The Harley-Davidson Low Rider S has to be one of the most badass Softail’s in the 2021 line-up and take it from us, it is one hell of a ride. Now imagine yourself on one and how you could make it your own. We’d be adding the 131 Screamin’ Eagle crate engine.
Our test bike was provided by Harley-Davidson Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S, contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer.